There is no easy, pain free way to do ceiling work, especially when you are doing multiple layers of plasters and stenciling. This particular ceiling is 12′ high and the room is approximately 18′ x 35′. Thankfully, I have Stacy helping me with most of the work.
We are working on a small scaffolding set up and we use a step ladder to climb off and onto the scaffold unit. We could climb up and down the side of the scaffolding each time, but the scaffolding could and does tip when you do this. Jumping down each time instead of using a ladder, is quicker, but not great for our bodies, although I am often guilty of this method. For each of the 3 layers of plaster we did on this ceiling we had a good routine going. We would both be on the scaffolding, each troweling on one side. When finished, one would stay on top and the other would take the ladder down, unlock the wheels and roll the unit over to the next section. We only lock 2 of the 4 wheels, since we are moving often. With all the trips I make up and down the ladder each day doing a
ceiling, plus the over head work, I’m sure that must equal a few hours
at any gym!
I try to keep switching arms when troweling, but because I am right handed, am clearly better using that hand when working in corners or when a problem occurs.
The lightweight trowels we are using from Japan have definitely helped when it comes to having any pain in our arms. The 2nd day I felt a little tightness, but not enough to really slow me down or have to take any ibuprofen. Stacy has some back problems, so she was feeling a little more pain as the days progressed. It does help to take some Tylenol or Ibuprofen before the start of the day and after. Sometimes I do this, but mostly I do not since I am not big on taking any pills I don’t absolutely feel I need.
I will say, on the days that I know I will be doing ceiling work, I also know I will be able to do very little when I get home from work. I am totally beat. I do have a neck brace that I sometimes wear when stenciling on a ceiling. When plastering, I feel I am working at a comfortable angle and moving quickly, so usually don’t need the brace, but when stenciling, it’s closer, tighter work, and I feel my neck stiffening up almost immediately. The brace looks ridiculous, but if I wanted a glamorous job, I would not have chosen this profession!
Everyone who does ceiling work has their own system that works for them. I know some decorative painters who build in the price of a massage with every ceiling job. I love the look of a decoratively painted ceiling, but am always ready for some wall work when the job is done! For me, it’s best to space the ceiling work out, alternating some wall work between these jobs.